Tuesday, May 10, 2005

This Week on DVD 05/10/05

Not a good week for bad stuff, but not a bad week for good stuff:

Alone in the Dark Uwe Boll’s latest (I haven’t caught any of this guy’s films, but from the disdain he’s garnered from my fellow, I’m probably missing something) is another video game adaptation, this one with Christian “Remember me?” Slater and Tara Reid, whose performance as a brilliant archaeologist is the most heralded such since Denise Richards played a nuk-u-lar scientist in The World is Not Enough.

The remake of Assault on Precinct 13 is out, which is as good a reason as any to hunt down the DVD of John Carpenter’s original.

Burden of Dreams: Criterion release of the documentary chronically the making of Werner Herzog’s Fitzccarldo. Now that both are out on DVD, you can finally double bill them.

Controversial Classics: Another fine Warners’ DVD set. For $50 (at DVDsoon.com, anyway), you can get DVDs for seven films on separate discs, including Advise and Consent, The Americanization of Emily, Bad Day at Black Rock, Blackboard Jungle, A Face in the Crowd, Fury and I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. Black Rock and Face in the Crowd (with a brilliantly malevolent performance by Andy Griffith—that’s right, Andy Griffith) are probably the class of the show, but Advise and Consent, Blackboard Jungle and Fugitive are all good movies. Each comes with a commentary detailing their ‘controversial’ history. Each film is also available on its own.

The Dain Curse: James Coburn was exactly the wrong body type to play Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op, but hey, he’s still James Coburn. By the way, let me strongly recommend the two collections of Op short stories, The Continental Op and The Big Knockover, available in numerous editions. The Op also appeared in the novels The Dain Curse and the seminal Red Harvest.

Have Gun Will Travel The Complete Second Season– All 39 (!) episode of the classic Western series starring Richard Boone.

Hoop Dreams: Criterion release of the much acclaimed Chicago-set documentary about poor black kids hoping for a one-in-a-million shot at stardom as a basketball player.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: The first film to really suggest that director Wes Anderson’s career may soon be afflicted by repetitive quirk fatigue, but still an interesting little movie. For a few bucks more than the regular release, you can get the 2-Disc Criterion edition, chock full of extras.

The Perils of Penelope Pitstop: The Southern belle from Wacky Races (already out on DVD, and actually still pretty funny) got her own show, featuring her Wacky Races co-stars the Ant Hill Mob. This series basically parodied old adventure serials, with Penelope in constant peril from the devious Hooded Claw (voice of Paul Lynde). Also out today is the other Wacky Races spin-off, Dastardly & Muttley In Their Flying Machines.

Media Blasters continues their bid for prominence with a fab DVD of Toho’s sub-Godzilla epic Varan the Unbelievable. Features both the Japanese version and the heavily altered American cut. Given the great job MB did with The Mysterians and Matango, this is a must buy.


At 11:11 AM, Blogger Gaftrhjhj said...

Since the Special Edition of Precinct 13 came out, Wal-Mart has put the original barebones release in their $5.50 dump bin.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger culfy said...

Wasn't it the hooded claw? I loved that show, particularly the overelaborate machines used to kill Penelope Pitstop rather than him just shooting her.

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...


Oops! Got me.

At 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't recommend Boll highly enough. He is a living Ed Wood, but without the occasional good moment.

-- John Nowak

At 2:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life Aquatic was an interesting film -- it seems to have been made expressly for people who can laugh at Jacques Cousteau jokes. Fortunately, I am that person.

Even the sauna joke works in that context -- diving facilities often have saunas with whirlpool baths, because that's how you treat hypothermia. I don't know if Calypso had one.

However, there was one Cousteau "bit" I really can't mention because it's a spoiler which I thought cut just a bit too close to the bone to be funny.

-- John Nowak


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